Govt Cancels Purchasing New AW101 Helicopters
Date 3 Desember 2015
After taking into account a number of factors and listening to a number of inputs, President Joko Jokowi Widodo (Jokowi) has decided not to purchase new AW101 helicopters to replace a Super Puma helicopter assembled by PT. Dirgantara Indonesia (DI).
First, the President considers that the existing helicopter still can be used maximally; second, under current economic conditions, the purchase of the helicopter is too expensive. So, once again, the President will still use the existing helicopter, said Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung to reporters after attending a limited cabinet meeting to discuss the primary weaponry defense systems (Alutsista) of the Indonesian Military and the Indonesian National Police at Presidential Palace on Thursday (3/12).
Nevertheless, Pramono said that it was necessary to think of procuring a helicopter as a back up considering that Indonesia is an archipelagic country and President has many activities; thus, a back-up helicopter is certainly needed.
Besides, Pramono added, there is currently no back-up for the Super Puma helicopter that is usually used by President Jokowi.
The President has instructed that it would be better, in line with the prevailing laws and regulations, to use helicopters assembled or manufactured by our own people, Pramono said.
For the record, the plan to purchase three AW101s was proposed by the Indonesian Air Force.
In the meantime, Air Force Chief of Staff Air Marshall Agus Supriatna said that the plan to purchase the helicopters was in accordance with the strategic plan to procure Alutsista at the Indonesian Air Force.
The proposal has been included in the strategic plans of the Air Force for the period of 2015-2019.
Agus claimed that the reason behind the purchase of the helicopters was because the Super Puma helicopter that is usually used by the President during working visits is already 25 years old.
Agus also said that the plan to purchase the AW101 was purely based on the result of a study conducted by the VVIP Air Squadron, which was later evaluated at the Headquarter of the Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI).
The main consideration to purchase the helicopters VVIP (the President, the Vice President, high-ranking state officials and state guests), Agus said, is to prioritize safety and comfort.
If the safety factor is ignored and something happens, I will be held responsible. Therefore, I have asked to pay attention to the safety of the helicopters, Agus said.
Agus also hopes that one unit of AW101 helicopter would arrive in 2016.
Insha Allah, before 9 April 2016, the helicopter will arrive in Indonesia, Agus said. (UN/FID/RAH/OJI/ES) (EP/YM/Naster)